Sleep is critical. There’s a disagreeable feeling to waking up groggy because you slept less than seven to eight hours that even several cups of coffee can’t change. So when your hearing loss began causing you to have insomnia, you were aghast.
Justifiably so. The good news is, there’s a little something that can help: a hearing aid. Based on recent surveys and research, these tiny devices can likely help you sleep better.
How is Sleep Impacted by Hearing Loss?
Even though you feel fatigued all day and are completely drained by bedtime, you still toss and turn and have a hard time falling asleep. All of these problems started about the same time you also began to notice that your mobile phone, radio, and television were becoming difficult to hear.
Turns out, you’re not imagining things. It’s well documented that people who have hearing loss often have a difficult time falling asleep, but precisely why is not well understood. There are, of course, a handful of theories:
- As you develop hearing loss, your brain starts straining, it’s searching for inputs from your ears where there isn’t. If your brain is in overdrive trying to hear while you’re drifting off to sleep, your whole cycle could be thrown off (it’s that “my brain won’t shut off” issue).
- Tinnitus can cause you to hear ringing, thumping, and humming and that noise can keep you awake at night. (It can become a vicious cycle because lack of sleep can worsen your tinnitus symptoms).
- Loss of hearing is linked to depression, and your sleep cycle can be disrupted by chemical imbalances caused by depression. This makes it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep.
Can Hearing Aids Help Your Sleep?
According to one study, 44% of individuals with hearing loss who don’t use hearing aids documented being satisfied with their sleep compared to 59% sleep satisfaction among those who did use a hearing aid. So are hearing aids a sleep aid or what?
Not exactly. If your hearing is perfectly normal, wearing hearing aids won’t cure your insomnia.
But if you have hearing loss related insomnia, hearing aids could help in multiple critical ways:
- Tinnitus: Hearing aids could be an effective treatment for that ringing or buzzing, depending on the nature of your tinnitus. This can help short circuit that vicious cycle and help you get some sleep.
- Isolation: If you’re out and about, interacting with the people in your social group, you’re not so likely to feel depressed and isolated. Hearing aids make retaining relationships easier (sleep cycle problems that lead to “cabin fever” can also be lessened).
- Strain: Your hearing aids will effectively reduce the burden on your brain. And your brain won’t be as likely to strain while sleeping if it isn’t straining all of the rest of the time.
Using Hearing Aids to Achieve a Better Quality Sleep
It’s not just the number of hours that’s significant here. Depth of sleep is as important as how many hours you sleep. Loss of hearing can prevent that deep sleep, and hearing aids, as a result, can increase your ability to achieve restful sleep.
it should be mentioned that even though they’ll help improve your sleep, the majority of hearing aids are not supposed to be worn overnight. When you’re sleeping they won’t help you hear better (for instance, you won’t hear your alarm clock better). And, over time, wearing your hearing aids at night can lessen their efficiency. You get better sleep if you use them during the day.
Go to Bed!
Sleep is valuable. Your stress level, your immune system, and your ability to think clearly will all be helped by sufficient sleep. A decreased risk of diabetes and heart disease have also been connected to balanced sleep habits.
When your sleep schedule is disturbed by your hearing loss, the problem becomes more than annoying, insomnia can frequently become a serious health concern. Fortunately, people document having better quality sleep with hearing aids.